David Caplan, Dean and Vice Chair of City Year New York

A Message from City Year CEO and Co-Founder Michael Brown


To the City Year Community,

A very special and long-time member of the City Year community, our beloved David Caplan, Dean and Vice Chair of City Year New York, has passed away.

David was an extraordinary person, and the very heart and soul of City Year New York, and in so many ways, City Year as a whole. 

David just loved City Year, and we at City Year loved David.  For the past 11 years he came to City Year New York every day as a self-described "dollar a year man" -- we in fact gave him a commemorative check for $11 dollars as we celebrated his 90th birthday last year.

David had extraordinary energy and passion for our work. He was always ready to meet with anyone, go anywhere, and do anything to advance the cause of youth service, City Year and his beloved City Year New York corps. If fact, it was often hard just to keep up with his joyous, let's-go-advance-City-Year-today pace, even for those less than half his age.

I will always treasure the way David would greet me, and all of us, with that amazing smile, a palm-up hand extended to shake, and a warm words of greeting. He was simply the most encouraging person I have ever known. As I always said to him, David was the youngest person I knew; his spirit was forever young and idealistic.

David's legacy is in every City Year New York corps member who has ever or will ever serve, and the students whose lives they have and will touch.‎ It is also in all of the City Year people he encouraged and mentored across the country, especially me and so many of our senior colleagues at City Year. 

As City Year Executive Director and Vice President Erica Hamilton wrote today in a message to the City Year New York Community, “For over a decade, David showed up to work every single day in the City Year New York office serving as a mentor to anyone who needed it; acting as a critical thought partner who helped us make difficult decisions; introducing us to new champions and supporters and just doing whatever it took to enable City Year to help more children learn and enable more young people to serve.  David found companionship among the AmeriCorps members and staff who, like him, wanted to give incredible amounts of their time and energy to an important cause—for David believed that extending national service to our nation’s public schools was the great cause of our time.” 

A 2010 article in the Daily News captured so well David’s tremendous commitment to City Year and his can do spirit.

As sad as it is to imagine a world, and a City Year, without David, our sadness is also mixed with a profound sense of gratitude for David's life, service and civic spirit.

With David's passing, it is now it is up to all of us to be a little more like David, more encouraging, more idealistic, more relentless in pursuit of service and social justice.

Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with David's wife Barbara and his children, grandchildren and extended family. 

With sadness, sympathy and gratitude for a life of service and commitment,

​​Yours in Service,
Michael​ Brown 
CEO and Co-Founder of City Year 

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